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Red Trolley Ale - Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Red Trolley AleRed Trolley Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
79
okay

300 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 300
Reviews: 116
rAvg: 3.48
pDev: 15.23%


Brewed by:
Karl Strauss Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Irish Red Ale |  5.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-16-2003)
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Ratings: 300 | Reviews: 116 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Tupperwolf
Tupperwolf

Washington

1.7/5  rDev -51.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Red, dark-brown 22oz Brewer's Pint of Red Trolley Ale on draft; Almost no head, left a few tiny dabs of lacing.

Saccharine, brown-sugar, sugar, sweet-n-low.. this thing defied the boundaries of sweetness. Like sniffing a bowl of sugar.

Sickly, sickly, disgustingly sweet. I could only drink 1/4 of a glass. It got worse as it warmed up. No hop balance, no toasty flavors, nothing - just heavy, mouth-filling, gut-churning sweetness. I hated every second of my 1/4 pint.

Yuck.

Serving type: on-tap

01-09-2006 07:49:37 | More by Tupperwolf
Photo of mithrascruor
mithrascruor

California

2.25/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a clear, somewhat dark red color. Head has a nice light reddish-tan hue, and is fairly creamy/foamy, and about 1/2 in.

Smell: Mostly notice a lot of roasted malts. Fairly sweet with a bit of caramel, and maybe a hint of hops beneath.

Taste: Very (i.e. too) sweet. Lots of caramel and malts, but then it has this flavor of hops and some grains beneath. Seems very skewed, but I can't tell in which direction or how. It's like pouring sugar in a very hoppy beer. Hideous.

Mouthfeel: Fairly light-bodied and smooth, very little carbonation. On occasion has as a somewhat cold and clammy feel, even if it's not too cold.

Drinkability: As long as you can handle the odd flavor, it's quite a drinkable beer. Otherwise, ... ugh. Alcohol, though at 5.6%, is not very noticable.

While it looks nice, after drinking it for just a short while you realize that it's no good. The taste is the main problem -- there's a horribly sweet taste and a somewhat bitter taste all at once, and it turns out less than good. In fact, it tastes quite bad. I might be willing to try this on tap (there's a Karl Strauss across from my office), but I certainly won't get this again at the store.

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2006 04:05:33 | More by mithrascruor
Photo of jcalabre
jcalabre

California

2.5/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Originally sampled on 18 February 2002. I am writing this review form my notes. Boring. There is nothing outstanding or bad about this beer. Like all Karl Strauss offerings, in my opinion, it is sufficiently benign not to offend the mass market. There are many better beers available

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2003 18:44:23 | More by jcalabre
Photo of rawfish
rawfish

California

2.5/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours dark amber, rusty colored under the light, mild chill haze. One finger high head of tight off white bubbles. Average retention with many solid lines of lacing. Kinda attractive for a session beer.

Caramel malts with a slight bit of dark berries, very dank and musty hop aroma. Little bit on honey and toasted almond on the finish.

Very raw and grainy malt bill, some mixed nuts and caramel in the flavor. Notes of burnt sugar and subtle fall fruits. Hops don't really push back any as they are small and dank, shriveled up with some pine and lettuce leaves. Husky grains and raw bread dough finish off the drink and really accelerates on the finish.

Well carbonated with an average body. Drying that accentuates the awful grainy taste in the finishing malt.

This beer is everywhere in SD but I don't see how it's gotten so popular or how it deserves a gold medal of any kind. Flavorful malt bill and sessionable but an absolute adjunct and raw mess on the finish, you need to keep quaffing this thing to keep the aftertaste out of your mouth. Karl's seasonal offerings and one shots are so much better, I'll pass on this.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2012 08:26:14 | More by rawfish
Photo of hopdog
hopdog

Pennsylvania

2.58/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pint on tap inside Disneyland.

Poured a deeper amber color with a small sized off white head. I had this side x side with a pint of their Oktoberfest, and honestly, other than this being a little deeper in color, I would have a hard time telling the difference. Some caramel, toastiness, and some light citrus.

Serving type: on-tap

12-03-2008 03:34:24 | More by hopdog
Photo of Cavery
Cavery

California

2.63/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Shared with SundaySour on a Sunday afternoon

750ml split into two Stone Nonics.

A: Beer poured a strong three fingers atop a ruby red body. The foam is slightly off white with modest lacing. Shots of light give the beer a more promising mahogany look.

S: Sea salt on carmel, a really strong toffee richness. The smell isn't that deep, and the sweetness of bready malts almost goes into mold. It's just a sweet and sour nose that just doesn't quite seem right. It's not so unpleasant, I just struggle to find sources for the overt sweetness, and it's odd mold-like finish. The bottle is most certainly suspect.

T: A very mild taste of semi-sweet malts, and not much else. The middle goes into a funky sawdust that seems to linger like memories of wood-shop class in highschool. Someone took a power sander to the malt. The malt needed solid roasting in order to make this work, and really the malt has this slightly mushy/warm flavor, like they were microwaved instead. Another point in favor of this bottle not being right.

M: The mouth really is very weak. I think this is my least favorite aspect of the beer. The flatness is so unwarranted, and I can't help but believe it contributes to that very base (as in anti-acidic) mold flavor. just a poor mouth. I would have a hard time believing this is as intended.

O: I think that there is a strong case for poor handling on part of the seller. For that reason I can't really rule out that this isn't the intended state of this beer. I will reserve my final say of this beer until I can confirm/debunk the authenticity of this tasting. Karl Strauss has consistently made decent beers, and I wouldn't be shocked if revisiting this beer would provide a completely different tasting experience.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2011 22:27:53 | More by Cavery
Photo of neeld
neeld

Oregon

2.68/5  rDev -23%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Not impressed. This beer comes on too sweet and malty for my tastes and IMO for the style. Carbonation is also too low.

If I didn't read the label, I might guess this was an Oktoberfest. In fact, if they upped the carbonation 50% it might make a good one. As is, it's flat on both counts.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2009 04:10:04 | More by neeld
Photo of malcontent
malcontent

Illinois

2.73/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear, bright amber body with a decent finger of head. Retention is OK and the resulting lacing is competent.

Musty, almost mealy aroma. Hints of sweetness peek through occasionally.

Ugh. Flavors are all over the place. Plastic-like aftertaste surfaces after a rather flat malt body.

A tad slick on the finish although the body is thick enough to be passable. Reading other reviews of this beer I'm wondering if my bottle wasn't a bit off. Still, in a beer landscape with a glut of amber ales I'd like to see brewers a) do something more interesting with the style or b) refrain from including it in their roster altogether.

Thanks to HoppyBen for the bottle.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2007 13:24:31 | More by malcontent
Photo of Trappissed
Trappissed

California

2.73/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

On-tap at some bar:

Way too sweet. Cloying. Thick mouthfeel for the style as well. Nothing really positive to say, other than the fact that I'm probably being too generous with my ratings on this one. Sorry Mister Strauss, you have yet to impress me.

Serving type: on-tap

07-21-2009 02:44:56 | More by Trappissed
Photo of Klym
Klym

California

2.73/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a Stone nonic.

A: Pours a dark amber with a plentiful white head that leaves porous but otherwise killer lacing. Not bad lookin'.

S: Malt bomb with grain and wheat notes. Smells like a mediocre lager.

T: The nose. Grain, malts, wheat, mediocrity.

M: Despite the head there's very little carbonation in the body. Pretty watery. Not pleasant but I've had worse.

O: Karl Strauss somehow has the place in my mind of a brewery that makes macro beers but holds the self-image of a microbrewery. They've been digging me out of this perception with some beers, such as Parrot In a Palm Tree which was actually a very superior brew, or their most recent anniversary stout which had some flare. With their classic selections like Red Trolley Ale, though, there's just not much room for anything other than boredom and disappointment. I'm not sure I've ever had an Irisih Red Ale so I can't make much of an in-style comparison but I can tell you I'd probably take some generic lagers over this. Unless you're new to craft beer and want to make baby steps from coors light, I'd avoid this.

As a final note, I hope the people at Karl Strauss keep taking risks as they have been trying to recently. They've been creative before, they just have to keep trying. I look forward to future efforts from them but I won't bother trying their classic selection anymore.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2011 03:47:57 | More by Klym
Photo of scottoale
scottoale

California

2.9/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Had a pint at Chili's with brunch. No head whatsoever and next to no lacing as I drank. Red-mahogany in color and very little carbonation.

Smell is of sweet sugary malts with maybe a hint of hops, it's kinda hard to smell through the malt sweetness. Tastes much like it smells with a faint hop trying, but failing to balance the sweetness. Couldn't detect the alcohol as the roast-sweet malt flavor dominates this brew. Fairly light body, sweet kind of slick mouthfeel.

One was plenty...not impressed.

Serving type: on-tap

03-19-2006 22:48:55 | More by scottoale
Photo of magictrokini
magictrokini

California

2.9/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Everyone says this is the best Karl Strauss has to offer. Its a decent beer. Good color, solid red with an off-white head. A nearly too-sweet caramel nose with straw. Malty sweet taste, to the point it feels like it builds up on your teeth. Lasting finish. Pretty thin, not remarkable. For a lighter beer, I think the Amber Lager is a much better alternative.

Serving type: on-tap

12-09-2008 23:01:40 | More by magictrokini
Photo of SundaySour
SundaySour

California

2.9/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Shared with Cavery.

A: A misty reddish-orange beer with a massive cream colored head. Like a nuclear sunset.

S: There's something rotten in Denmark. I smell...dare I say, bile. There are other smells, maybe a bit of burnt caramel. But it's like someone ate something delicious before ralphing all over the place.

T: Fearing the worst after sniffing my way into a panic attack, this beer is surprisingly light. Truly, it is the Miller Light of red ales. I get a light flavor of sourdough bread, but mostly just water. If this were clear and in a Perrier bottle, I'd shrug and chug.

M: Fizzy, but not fizzy enough. Leaves a vague stale bread taste in the mouth.

O: This is like a very hunky man with rippling muscles and a fabulous car turning out to be a big yawn fest. I loved the appearance, but the flavor is nothing to cheer about. It's the kind of beer you wash something down with, not enjoy on it's own.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2011 22:21:44 | More by SundaySour
Photo of barleywinefiend
barleywinefiend

Washington

2.93/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at an airport bar in LAX. Poured a medium amber color with some red tint. Medium head. Aroma is malty and a touch sweet. A medium bodied amber. Malts are nutty and a touch sweet. Hops are slightly spicy. There is a slightly harsh feel to the taste in this beer. Kind of a typical amber. Drinkable, but typical. Not very complex at all.

Serving type: on-tap

01-19-2008 01:56:04 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of PolarBear3
PolarBear3

Australia

2.96/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

A - Pours a bronze, red amber colour with an off white head that dissipates quickly leaving no lace.

S - Sweet bready malt, almost toffee/candy apple like with some caramel.

T - Sweet malts and mainly caramel/toffee with a slightly mild bitter finish.

M - Light to medium bodied with very little carbonatio

O - A little sweet for my liking and seemed a little flat. Not recommended

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2013 08:58:46 | More by PolarBear3
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

2.98/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Local consideration at Pizza Port Solena Beach. Some lace, some yeast noted, and some toasted malt. Not all that bad but this style is fairly commonplace and topped by many. Easy drink and beats a macro, not way out of a place in the incredible California beer landscape.

Serving type: on-tap

02-12-2007 00:44:10 | More by Sammy
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

2.98/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a crystal clear amber with a 1 inch fizzy beige head that fades to a film on the top of the beer. Random dots of lace drip back down into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, fruit, and a slight metallic aroma. Taste is malty, fruity, caramel, and there is a slight metallic flavor just like the smell. The carbonation on this beer is fairly high and paired with a somewhat thin body the mouthfeel is not that impressive. Overall, this is a pretty average beer all around. Nothing too horrible but not something I would probably try again.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2011 04:46:58 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of dippy
dippy

Massachusetts

3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Carmel Color with a tan head that had some lacing clinging to the glass.

Tastes like barley. It is a beer that would go with grape nuts or cheerios.

There wasn't much scent to this brew, maybe a little metallic.

Not any carbonation.
Decent beer, but won't go out of my way in the future.

Serving type: on-tap

10-28-2008 16:26:40 | More by dippy
Photo of Seanibus
Seanibus

California

3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours, well, red. Mostly red. Not much head, with a smooth, malty aroma, with some caramel. The flavor enhances that caramel vibe, with a sweet, smooth malt and a little indefinable hop edge. It finished with some cherry and smoke, though just a little. The mouthfeel is thick and a little creamy, though dead flat from a carbonation perspective.

Not bad. Not great. A perfectly competent Irish Red.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2011 23:56:25 | More by Seanibus
Photo of rinhaak
rinhaak

Massachusetts

3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at LAX.

Pours a slightly pale red copper. A good-sized head that left behind a mild lace.

Not a very interesting nose, with aromas of mild rust, copper, and bubblegum.

Very light in body, though a tad syrupy.

Mild flavors, the beer has a fruity character with a hints of the rustiness I expect in an Irish Red. No finish to speak of, nearly no bitterness, it's pretty simple and one-dimensional.

Overall, I was quite disappointed. I've had both their Tower 10 IPA and Full Suit Brown, and was very impressed with both. This really wasn't up to that standard and was really rather ordinary. Not worth having.

Serving type: on-tap

11-29-2011 03:17:07 | More by rinhaak
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
Beerandraiderfan

Nevada

3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a light red, standard clarity, 1/2" head on it, white in color. Aroma was uneventful.

Taste, a little bit of caramel, toffee, sweet and bready. Not really any bitterness or hops to speak of here. Relatively light on the palate. For a second, I thought I should be giving this beer a higher rating, it doesn't do anything poorly, it is true to style, but its just so run of the mill for me, but I realize that's how I feel about most red ales. Just one of those, don't hate it, don't love it.

Its a beer that has a place in the world, but its not exactly teeming with flavor country either.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2012 07:42:54 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of hopfacebrew
hopfacebrew

Colorado

3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked up a pint at the San Diego airport before flying home. Beer served in a standard pint glass. Pours a pale light clear red with a thin white head. Not much to report in aroma, very average hop and malt aroma. Similar taste: some caramel sweetness with some malty biscuity character, mild hoppiness. Overall, this beer was about as average as you can go. Glad to have tried it, would not drink it again.

Serving type: on-tap

01-16-2012 15:32:18 | More by hopfacebrew
Photo of ccrida
ccrida

Oregon

3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearence is rich mahogeny with a small off-white collar leaving very light lace.

Smell isvery sweet malt, carmel, some gingerbread.

Taste is also real sweet and malty, but there is a husky bite too it as well, a touch metallic.

Mouthfeel is off dry and sharp.

Drinkability is ok if you like a really sweet, malty ale. I'd not have a 2nd if it wasn't the only craft brew in the san diego airport where I have a painful 4 hour layover. I was really hoping for some good IPA!

Serving type: on-tap

10-20-2012 19:36:47 | More by ccrida
Photo of ctdfalconer
ctdfalconer

California

3.03/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Karl Strauss is a decent organization that I think suffers from trying to please too many people. Being a brewpub, they aim at appealing to beer nuts, but at the same time, they position themselves as a kind of beer-themed family restaurant. This is a tricky balance to acheive, and there is some overlap in those two schemes, but beer-wise, it guides them to aim for the middle. This beer (along with most of their lineup) exemplifies that. The beer is clean and crisp and easy to drink, but largely unremarkable. It has some pleasant malty-toffee notes with a hint of toastyness, but given a decent hoppy zing, it would have been considerably more interesting. I'm not saying they should remake Arrogant Bastard, I'm just saying that I would like this beer more if it had a little hoppy dryness in the finish and just a frisson of hop perfume in the nose. Aiming for accessibility is one thing, and this beer is quite accessible, but even so, when I was in the K.S. in Universal Citywalk, the people at the next table displayed their preconceptions when they picked out the "Endless Summer Light Lager" as their fave, saying of the red, "We don't like those dark beers". The problem is, you can't please everybody. It looks like they are pleasing enough to stay in business, at any rate.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2007 20:11:26 | More by ctdfalconer
Photo of Roeters
Roeters

Michigan

3.03/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured from bottle in to a pint glass, reddish copper color with a finger and half of off white foam
S: Quite malty, little caramel slight breadiness
T: All malt, no real bitterness present, mostly just sweetness
M: lighter body, little too thin/watery
D: very easy drinking, personally I think it needs more bitterness to offset the malty base of this beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2010 14:29:14 | More by Roeters
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Red Trolley Ale from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 300 ratings.